Summer of Music

Oh, my sad, neglected blog. I’ve been to a bunch of concerts recently, so I thought I’d write about them. Yes, I took that picture of Trent Reznor myself, more on that below.

I hadn’t gone to any rock shows [except for one Pet Shop Boys show with Rob] for quite a few years, until last year, when I saw Nine Inch Nails play twice, once in Philadelphia and once in Atlantic City. Since Trent Reznor announced this year that he was retiring from touring, I jumped at the chance to see NIN play one last time, this past June at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. The summer NIN tour in North America was called the NIN/JA tour, because they played with Jane’s Addiction. Since Jane’s broke up in the 1990’s and I hadn’t seen them play since 1991 (I skipped an SAT prep class to go to that show!), that made the whole thing even better.

We drove through a thunderstorm to get to the show and the traffic made us miss the opening band, Street Sweeper. No worries, I didn’t have much interest in them anyway. The timing was actually good, because we didn’t have to wait long for NIN to come on. And NIN has a very liberal photo/taping policy at their shows so Rob and I both brought our cameras. He took videos until his memory card ran out, and I snapped away. Since we were in the third row behind the pit, it turned out pretty awesome.

For the first time, NIN was playing as a four piece. The music sounded just as tight as the other three times I had seen them as a five piece. Quite a few songs I had never heard them play live were in the set list, like The Becoming and Dead Souls. Awesome to say the least. Of course, since NIN was playing before Jane’s, the set was shorter than I and a lot of other people would have wanted. (This is one of the reasons NIN is playing a few final final farewell shows in late August/early September). Jane’s was fun as well, though. I had forgotten what a delightfully silly little freak Perry Farrell is. Dave Navarro refused to stand still for my photos- I think I only got one of him in focus. All-in-all, a great show, pairing two great bands.

The next show of the summer was Green Day at the Verizon Center in DC. I got two tickets, thinking I would talk Rob into going with me. He wasn’t interested. But I soon discovered that two of my coworkers were going or wanted to go. One was my supervisor, whose daughter had floor tickets. She gladly took my extra ticket. Strange to be at a show with my boss, but we had a good time. No cameras allowed at this show, dang it. NIN spoiled me. Verizon printed text messages on the Jumbotron before the show started. We counted 13 or so marriage proposals, but I have a feeling most of them were jokes. The show was a good mix of new material (which I haven’t listened to much yet) and the older stuff that I’m most familiar with. It was fun but went on for 2 and a half hours, much longer than I expected! No one could claim they didn’t get their money’s worth, I guess. Billie Joe did a lot of his usual schtick, bringing fans up on the stage to sing and play guitar during certain songs. Cool, but a tad tiresome, since they do this at EVERY show. People probably practice beforehand, in case they get called up.

Tori Amos @ DAR

Tori Amos @ DAR

Only a few days after Green Day was Tori Amos at DAR Constitution Hall. This time I couldn’t find anyone to take the extra ticket, so I had to go by myself. Only ever done that for one other show. But since Tori’s crowds are relatively tame, I had no fears about it. And thankfully, the crowd was blessedly free of little girls in fairy costumes. I’m all for getting into the spirit of things, but gag me. Really. Once again, I did not take my camera with me. Although in this case, I probably could have gotten it in, lots of people had small point-and-shoots. Mine’s a bit too big for me to feel good about it though. So I was limited to a few blurry iPhone shots, like the one at left. I was in the orchestra section, but not very close to the stage. I had her latest album downloaded from iTunes but hadn’t listened to it much yet. But I still recognized a few of the new songs. All the old songs, which I know by heart, were, of course, fantastic. She played Jamaica Inn, which features my favorite Tori lyric of all time: “The sexiest thing is trust”. Sadly, my favorite Tori song, Liquid Diamonds, was not played. And I didn’t hear anything from my fave album of hers, Boys for Pele. But I’ll live; it was a great show anyway. I actually cried during Carbon.. I know the Neil she refers to in it (and many other of her songs) is Neil Gaiman, but it will always make me think of my brother Neal. Despite the crying, I came away from the show happy.

Next up: Pet Shop Boys at DAR Constitution Hall.

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